From Wannabes to Finalists

They arrived at Spokane’s Plants Ferry Park with high hopes, to earn instant fame and a roster spot for the first season of Sounders FC.They arrived at Spokane’s Plants Ferry Park with high hopes, to earn instant fame and a roster spot for the first season of Sounders FC.

A few hours later, following an exhaustive workout in raw weather conditions, three young men had taken a big step toward realizing that dream.

Sounders Super Search, presented by Disney, got underway last Sunday, Nov. 9—an exceptionally gray, wet and chilly morning. The second tryout is next Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Starfire Sports Complex and the final one comes Nov. 22 in Yakima.

The finalists culled from the three sessions will then come to the Seattle area Feb. 1 for a live reality TV show to be shown on KING 5 television.

Here’s a recount of the day’s activities from Bart Wiley of Sounders FC:

“Although we didn’t get underway until 11 o’clock, check-in was at 9 and soon after guys began rolling in. There were individuals with compelling personal stories of what brought them to this place, this point in their lives. Some of them shared those details with the KING 5 crew before we got going.

“After a 15-minute ballistic warm-up, participants were broken up into groups of eight.

They moved through six skills competitions, including 1-on-1, shooting, passing, stamina, 2v2, and dribbling–all under the watchful eye of 14 coaches, among them Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson.

“It took only 10 minutes for it to become clear the most dreaded skill area was the Stamina Square. Sounders FC staffer Amy Carnell was unmerciful in challenging participants to complete a series of exercises that would tire the most hardened athlete. Ball jumps, leg lifts, sit ups and crab crawls were all used by Amy to determine who was in shape. It was demanding, to say the least.

“The only light-hearted moment in stamina segment was watching eight men leap in the air, kick their arms and legs out to the side, and yell ‘Sounders!’ It was all part of Amy’s master plan to identify a potential professional soccer player from this bunch.

“Two 11 v 11 scrimmages were next on the docket, with coaches watching from an elevated position atop a grassy knoll between the fields. After the intensive skill competitions, the promise of match was welcomed by the participants.

“What the coaches saw in the skills competitions was only reinforced on the playing field; the three players who were to be invited back to Seattle for the February 1st live show began to firmly establish themselves as frontrunners.

“Matches complete, the coaches huddled one more time to determine 10 finalists.

“With the KING 5 camera rolling, Sounders FC Youth Academy director Darren Sawatzky thanked everyone for their hard work and then rattled off 10 names. Ten weary men stepped forward.

“Then, before calling the names of the three finalists, Henderson, Carnell and Sawatzky spoke about what they saw from each player and told them why they were being invited back to Seattle. They were each presented a Sounders FC scarf and happily hugged family and friends at the prospect of moving on in the competition.”

Next stop: Tukwila and the Seattle area tryout at Starfire. Register at and check-in opens Saturday at 9.